A Love of Literacy

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When I was in school my favourite subject was Language Arts.  Reading was my passion.  Writing was my emotional release.  The ideas, the comprehension, the inferences, and the arguments were just there in my mind, waiting to be articulated.  Conversely, Mathematics was my worst subject, and I struggled to understand the concepts that were shown to me.  As I progressed through my teacher training, however, I noticed something that at first struck me as unusual: teaching Math came more easily to me than teaching Reading and Writing.  After some reflection, I concluded that because I had struggled with Math throughout my educational career, I was better able to understand my students’ difficulties and help them to overcome their mental barriers.  I could teach a Math concept three different ways because it had often taken me three tries to understand the same concept myself.  But because I had inherently understood stories, plays, and poems, how was I supposed to teach reading to struggling readers?  Because I had always been full of ideas on what to write in my own creative stories, poems, and essays, how was I supposed to teach writing to those with low writing output?  How was I going to establish that literacy is crucial to understanding our world, and instill that same interest in my students that I experienced growing up?

Seven years of teaching later, and to be honest, I’m not close to mastering the teaching of literacy.  But I am also working to discover the tools, strategies, novels, and techniques that will assist me in this journey.  These are the ideas I want to share with others who have the same goal of encouraging literacy.  Some posts will be a discussion of curriculum theories and pedagogy.  Others will be reviews of novels for the intermediate grades, and still others will be literacy lesson plans that can be directly pulled from the site during one of those “Whatever will I teach the kids tomorrow?” moments.  To quote W.B. Yeats: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  If I have a passion for literacy, I want others to share in this passion, and together we can learn how to light these fires for our students.

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